Saturday, June 8, 2019

Then and Now

I found this post in my draft folder...I've dusted it off and added a post script. Life got busy, and I put this aside. Frankly, I'd forgotten I had started this...


This has been an eventful year to say the least. All the excitement I had in Europe with my sister, Becky, in March of 2016 still hasn't been completely chronicled in my blog...(My muse seems to be on hiatus.) My focus for 2017 was to dive head-first into my dream of becoming a yoga teacher. With a lot of hard work and dedication, I have now completed my 200-Level Yoga Teacher Training. While I am pleased to have this training under my belt, this is only the tip of the iceberg. There was a question at the end of the final exam that asked: Do you feel you are ready to teach? My obvious, knee-jerk answer was, Yes! But after giving it some thought I wrote "Yes and no".

What I have found with teaching yoga is that each person comes with different wants, needs, and abilities. Each time I feel I've nailed a posture and how to teach it, a student comes along who challenges that notion. To clarify: I put yes down on my exam because I have the desire and need to teach. I crave working with beginners who often say they can't do yoga because they are inflexible, too heavy, they have arthritis or chronic pain (the list goes on). I love it when students come up to me after class and say they had no idea yoga would make them feel this way. And I answered no because I am a student first and foremost. I do not always have the answers...more often than not I don't. But what I can do is teach students to listen to their bodies, focus on their breathing, pay attention to feelings that come up without attaching meaning to them, and for an hour or so, cultivate peace within.

A yoga teacher of mine runs workshops on creating vision boards. I have yet to take her class, but the idea of a vision board is intriguing. I have a hodge-podge of ideas, mostly surrounding my home and yoga career. I envision a modest home with enough space for my husband to have an office for his medical transcription and I would like a dedicated yoga room where I can teach. Of course, my home would need to have enough yard space to have vegetable and flower gardens. In my mind's eye I can see a therapy room off of my yoga studio with a large enough closet to store all the props I would need. One wall of my studio would have a ropes wall.

And now...

My yoga career has turned into something I hadn't envisioned when I started my yoga teacher training in 2017. When I started at Temple Yoga I hadn't seen myself as a Reiki teacher, but I'm finding this part of my practice invigorating and fulfilling. Since becoming a Reiki Master in 2000, I used it only on myself, my friends, cats, and my kids. I used it to help my family (furry included) and friends find relief or relaxation. I would do my best to explain how it worked, but always came up short explaining it properly. When Jenna, Temple Yoga's owner, nudged me to start teaching, it felt right. I have enjoyed every workshop I have given. What I love more than anything is to see students use Reiki and actually feel the energy flowing. Jenna also encouraged me to teach restorative yoga with Reiki. Reiki would be given to each student while they relaxed in a restorative yoga posture. My partner, Emily, and I (as well as a couple others who have assisted along the way) help each student to find peaceful bliss within the postures. Each time our class grows, it feels more and more like a pajama party.

I've become more open to the idea of new ventures and workshops with an ease I've never felt before. Just yesterday, I began taking riding lessons. My instructor is amazingly patient and encouraging. The horse is so gentle, yet strong. The opportunities that are coming in seem to be many. I am truly blessed.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Reiki Training Levels I, II, and III

What a wonderfully busy year! I achieved my dream of becoming a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) and have partnered up with Temple Yoga (TY) in Downtown DeKalb, IL. However, what I had envisioned as my current future with yoga has been delightfully altered by the lovely Jenna, owner and director of Temple Yoga.

You see, she heard that I was a Reiki Master as well and wanted to combine both Reiki and Yoga into a class. Honestly, I had never heard of this type of class before. Upon further investigation, there is quite an insurgence into this type of experience. So a lovely gal, Emily, who also has partnered up with TY will be teaching the Yoga/Reiki classes with me as a Reiki practioner/Empath. I've had a treatment from her, and let me tell you, she is gifted. I am truly excited to begin my journey with her. But wait! There's more...

Jenna put a bug in my ear about offering Reiki training at TY. So, without hesitation, I will begin teaching Reiki starting April 22, 2018

I am beyond words...please contact me at to reserve your spot in this training. I have a limit of 6 people per training. I look forward to meeting you! Namaste

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

We Met at Size 8: My adventures in Europe, Part VIII

I'm not sure what I expected when I went on a tour of the Tower of London. I had heard this was a piece of London's history I surely couldn't miss. While I agree it is an integral part of London's history, it was one stop I could have done without. I am quite squeamish, and didn't expect that the beefeater who lead our tour to share the brutal history so completely. It seemed that this man was going overboard. When I shared this on Facebook, one man (originally from England), responded that the beefeaters do this for our (American's) benefit. We found out later that the bloody history of the Tower of London wasn't as dramatic as it was presented. There were times that it seemed I could actually smell the carnage...the atmosphere really lent itself to spur my over-active imagination.

That same day we visited Westminster Abbey. I remember vividly the feeling upon entering the Abbey. Now, if I can only put those feelings it into words: profound peace, a vast, palpable presence...these descriptions don't do the Abbey justice. My emotions strangled my voice...I am not religious, so this reaction stunned me.  I believe that we are not alone, but my beliefs do not necessarily line up with organized religion. During our visit, there was a mass being given by one of their priests. It was breathtaking. To be honest, many churches leave me with a feeling of discomfort. Not the Westminster Abbey. I was at utter peace. We visited another cathedral which was beautiful, but there truly was no comparison.

Our tour of London ended with the musical, "The Book of Mormon". I typically avoid musicals, but THAT had to be the best production I have seen bar none. At the end, when the entire audience was giving the actors a standing ovation, I had bent down to grab my purse and felt drips on my hands. I stood up and looked at the ceiling thinking there may have been a leak. It was then that I realized I was crying. If you have read this far, you know how emotional I become when experiencing something profound. Well this play has been added to my list of one of my best experiences ever. If this production ever comes to a theater near me, I am taking my husband!

Afterwards, I had asked an usher where the stage exit was...I wanted to meet the actors. My sister, her colleague and I waited at the exit for the actors and crew to come out. I was able to meet one of the lead actors. He was simply delightful. We talked about the call he received when he got the part. He was a relatively new professional actor, and to get a call for the lead was a dream come true for him. The most interested person I met, however, was this tiny woman. I couldn't place her in the cast, but when I asked what her role in the production was, she said she was the costumer! (!!!) Her work was stunning. She had been doing this for more than 20 years, and this was to be her last show before retirement. She shared that I was the only person in her 20+ years that had ever stopped her to congratulate her on a job well done. Really?! For all my costuming friends at my community theater (Stagecoach Players in DeKalb, IL), I hope that you have received the kudos you deserve.

Again, I don't remember specifics about the sites, the names of places, actors names...but I do know that our day in London was one I will never forget. The following day, my sister and I were flying to Spain...sleeping that night proved to be a bit difficult. Anticipating the travel and the travel itself wear me out. Until next time.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

My New Year's Dream Becoming a Reality

For those of you who follow my blog, you know that I am passionate about all things yoga. About 10 years ago, I decided to try yoga to combat my chronic pain (since I was 12). I was desperate, depressed, and needed to try anything that would offer some relief.

A friend and co-worker of mine gifted me with a year subscription to Yoga Journal. That's all it took, and I started my yoga journey. For about five years or so, my dream has been to complete my 200-hour yoga teacher training program so that I can work with people who have dealt or are dealing with chronic pain. Chronic pain affects more than just our body. It affects our minds, our spirits, our connection with people and the world.

I have 11 more years before I retire from teaching. I would love to have a new career when that happens; but, I continually put off going through a program because the cost is exorbitant. So I've decided to stop the excuses and try a different route. I've set up a GoFundMe page to help defer the cost of the program. So far I have received five donations in three days! Please visit my page, and if this campaign resonates with you, I would so appreciate your help.

I hope each and every one of you are feeling blessed in your neck-of-the-woods.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

We Met at Size 8: My adventures in Europe, Part VII

The palace grounds were filling up, and the police officer who informed us of the event, also shared how to keep our personal items safe. Pick pocketing is a profession in this area, and unsuspecting visitors are the prime target. We needed to be aware of our bodies and personal possessions.  OK, I could do that...I'm always on high alert in new settings, so this was not going to be a problem.

The waiting seemed to take forever. Tourists were leaving their purses behind them on the ledges, letting their kids run around unsupervised, making me nervous for each of them. Thankfully, two beautiful children, along with their mom, came to talk to us. Just talking with them grounded me and centered my attention on what was important.

I could feel the air shift and my anticipation grew. The electricity in the air was palpable. We could see the mounted guards circling the streets surrounding the palace. For Londoners, I'm sure this event becomes part of the landscape. We seem to acclimate so very easily to our surroundings that we forget what is truly spectacular. Well, this to me was spectacular. Watching YouTube videos of this does not do it justice.

The Mounted Sentries were beginning to enter the grounds, and I got chills! I wish I had the words to describe this experience...utter awe barely touches it. However, as soon as it started, it seemed to be over. What we didn't anticipate was that we had to wait to cross the road (Buckingham Gate) until the ceremony was completely over. We had so much more to see, and so little time to see it in! Again, I cannot tell you the order in which we saw everything, but Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London were what I remember most vividly. The Abbey breathtakingly beautiful...the Tower of London...well, more about that next time.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

We Met at Size 8: My adventures in Europe, Part VI

On the day of the Irish Pub and beautiful weather, Becky and I had the town to ourselves. We had no tour guide (Chris and Erika were not there on that day), so we were our own tour guides. We had the London Pass and the Oyster Card to travel the Underground. So let me stop here. Do I sound like I know what I'm talking about? Come on...if you've read this far you already know the answer to that.

So armed with our 'stuff' we got to travel from place to place using the underground railway system. Erika assured us we could do it. Becky was braver than I, but I pulled up my big-girl britches and was ready to go. First stop? Again, I don't know! But we made it--wherever our destination lead us. 

But what I do remember (again vividly--because this is connected with my heart) was the breathtaking site of the palace. It stopped me short. (We didn't realize, however, that we weren't able to tour the palace--that happens in summer--but we saw so many people standing around looking at the palace. I figured this must be customary for tourists to do that. And maybe it is. But, in my heart I knew that there was a reason everyone was standing around. After a bit of gently nudging Becky, we decided to stay for an hour. 

We approached a police officer walking among the crowd, and we asked him what they were all waiting for. The reason? We were going to see the Changing of the Guard!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

We Met at Size 8: My adventures in Europe, Part V

Why is it I remember the inconsequential things? I don't know...I should be talking about the beautiful architecture, the wonderful shops, the palace (wait, I WILL talk about that...just not right now), right? But knowing who I am, I have embraced that part of me. It took years for me to understand why so many people labeled me as sensitive. I used to take that as an insult, but I know now, through all my life experiences, that my sensitivity has made me into a strong and loving person. I wouldn't change that for the world.

So, why do I remember that London has no bathrooms (unless you go into a restaurant?) WHAT? I'm sure they do, but my sister and I couldn't seem to find any on our day trip together on a beautiful day in London. As a tourist, I'm sure I just didn't have a guide to help me in that department; had I, I wouldn't be sharing this funny story right least to me.

We found a pub that was basically empty because it was between lunch and dinner, but I knew they would have to have a bathroom. So here's the dilemma: I'm gluten free, and this is an Irish pub that basically has no gluten-free options for me. But at this point I couldn't hold it any longer! So, we ordered 'chips'' (deliciously wicked French fries) and pops. I felt incredibly embarrassed by having to to do this just to use the bathroom, but the lovely gentlemen (who were old enough to be my sons) made the stop so worthwhile. They absolutely enjoyed our company as we did theirs, and I got to use the bathroom. Twice.

Monday, May 23, 2016

We Met at Size 8: My adventures in Europe, Part IV

I completely underestimated London's weather. I didn't pack the right amount of clothes or the type. I was openly frustrated trying to figure out what to wear. The rain was insane. Hyperbole? Not even a little bit. Sight-seeing in horizontally-pelting rain is an adventure...not a fun one...but an adventure nonetheless. Don't plan on experiencing that again, either, mind you. Oh, and to top it all off, my beautiful polka-dot umbrella met its demise in London. Now that was bittersweet.

Our trek from Cambridge to London is lost on me. Again, I'm sure I became so overwhelmed with the travel, I shut down. If my sister ever wants to chime in with a comment to correct any of my errors, I'd be grateful. Have at it, Becky! But here's what I do remember vividly: The conversation with one of our taxi drivers en route to someplace. Can't remember where. But here is my caveat: I will not participate in political banter here or on any other social media outlet, so if my prose leaves a lot to the imagination, then great!

He, our taxi driver, was more than happy to share his opinion of the political climate in the states (which I found out later in our trip, was consistent among a few Londoners who were brave enough to share their opinions). His biggest fear? WWIII. ! ! ! ! !

This sure made this seemingly huge world (in my perspective) very, very small. Here were people openly sharing their views and doing it with as much gusto as any American. What I did do was listen. And listen. And listen. I rarely make my political opinion known publicly, and I won't now. But my eyes were utterly blown wide open....

Friday, May 20, 2016

We Met at Size 8: My adventures in Europe, Part III

What I remember vividly is checking into our first hotel in Cambridge, England. My brother and his wife live there, so I knew we were going to get crème de la crème tour guides. OK, I lie, I don't remember the hotel name, but I do remember trying to figure out why my adapter that I bought for Europe wouldn't fit in the hotel's outlet. My sister, Becky, had bought this amazing adapter and was going to try it. After all, it cost upwards of $30 and was supposedly the best. To test it out, she plugged in her hairdryer and the strip adapter sparked and seemed to explode. Yikes! So much for money "well spent". We contacted the front desk and a nice man brought up a few UK adapters, (not European!) and explained that US hairdryers and UK outlets don't mix. Ours were obviously way too powerful. Thank goodness they had a hairdryer there. Our first logistical lesson. 

Cambridge is a beautifully quaint city. The architecture is nothing like here in America. My pictures of Cambridge are skewed, so I won't post the buildings per se, but here are a few that told about the famous pub, The Eagle, the site of take a look: 

Wow DNA discovered in a pub in Cambridge...well not in the pub, mind you, but you get the idea. 

The other place that I just loved was a quaint shop called Nomad. The owner, Fin, is a Deadhead and we had a lot to talk about. He even threw in an extra bundle of incense, because, that's just what Deadheads do. More to come!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

We Met at Size 8: My adventures in Europe, Part II

As we flew into Heathrow Airport, London, I saw a most magnificent city! The London Eye was unmistakably awesome! Taking all this in on the airplane was much easier for me than I knew it would be on the ground. Here it was safe and not so terribly overwhelming. I'm not sure how many times I grabbed my sister's hand and said, "I can't believe we're here!" My sister is one of a kind. She takes it all in, and adds a snarky comment occasionally to keep me guessing. She is not one to pour her feelings takes quite a bit for her to choose to do that...she's told me it doesn't come naturally to her. I, on the other hand, will gush...sometimes ad nauseum. My sister is much more reserved on that front. But I digress...

I cannot remember the next couple of hours after landing. When I get overwhelmed, I shut down. The first overwhelming aspect of our trip was DRIVING ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD! OK, I know that in England this is the way they do things, but actually doing it...well, it's quite an experience. OK, public service announcement here: I cannot for the life of me remember hotel names, restaurants, minor excursions, brain doesn't work that way. I know that taking the time to write things down or save memorabilia would be helpful, but that's not my way either. I'm an in-the-moment kind of gal when it comes to vacations or day excursions. I may take lots of pictures, but then may have no idea what they are of; thank God for the location device on my iPhone. It takes care of that for me. So basically, if you are looking for a "tour" of my trip, you won't get one. This is a journey into my mind, heart, soul, and all the other parts of me that make up who I am. So if this is not for you, you may stop reading. I won't mind. Hell, I won't even know who reads my stuff other than the comments I receive on Facebook.

So all that said, I hope you are enjoying your neck of the woods this weekend--cold and wet where I'm at--but I hope no matter the weather, you are all shining inside or appreciating your moment. More to come. Namaste.